Gentleman Jesse & His Men – Gentleman Jesse & His Men (Music Review)

Gentlemen Jesse & His Men cover

Gentlemen Jesse & His Men – Gentlemen Jesse & His Men

Jesse Smith, aka Gentleman Jesse, sings simple, slightly tinny garage rock. It almost takes a conscious effort today to create a sloppy DIY sound, and like many of bands who make that choice, he is actually influenced by classic pop sounds. As much Brian Wilson as The Ramones, Gentlemen Jesse & His Men filled their self-titled album with catchy, hook-filled songs. The themes are unchallenging: love (“All I Need Tonight (Is You)”), hate (“If I Can See You (You’re Too Close)”), and slacking off (“The Rest Of My Days”), and the song structures aren’t very complex either. But these songs are pure, energetic, and have a naive charm. At their best, these fuzzy-sounding tracks are great examples of alternative pop.

The constant energy level gets a little dull, though, and Smith’s slightly flat performance doesn’t help when things start to drag. While some songs have an authentic air, others feel like Smith is faking an upbeat attitude because he isn’t sure how else to perform. The most ironic example of this is “I Get So Excited”, which features Smith failing at any hint of true enthusiasm as he plods through a chorus about how excited he is. That song comes right at the two-thirds mark, and it definitely feels like the tipping point between fun pop and a boring exercise. At less than 35 minutes, the album still feels way too long.

Every time I start playing Gentlemen Jesse & His Men, I wonder why I had been disappointed by it in the past. It’s unoriginal, but offers exactly the sort of simple, familiar thrill that should be a staple in any music collection. I remember before long, though, when I find myself bored before the short playthrough is over. I’ll put it aside and repeat that cycle a while later. It’s never satisfying, but there are enough good songs for me not to regret it either.

Grade: C+

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